Winterizing Your Home’s Plumbing: What You Need to Know

Snowflakes on a cloudy blue background with the words "Prepare for Winter"

If you live in an area of the country that’s susceptible to cold weather, then failing to properly winterize your home’s plumbing and sprinkler system can cost you – both in repair costs and in the mess that it could potentially create. And while North Texas often isn’t associated with having winters comparable to, say, Minnesota, low overnight temperatures can still wreak their share of havoc on home plumbing.

Bottom line – it’s better to be safe than sorry, and a little bit of maintenance in the fall can save you from a big headache when temperatures plummet. With that being said, here’s a look at a checklist to follow when winterizing your home:

Outdoor Plumbing Winterization

When it comes to outdoor plumbing, your focus should be on the following:

  1. Sprinkler system: Winterizing, or “blowing out,” your sprinkler system is essential to removing water and moisture from the PVC or polyethylene flexible pipes buried in your lawn. If this isn’t done correctly and moisture remains in the system, water can freeze and damage the pipe walls. Additionally, any freezing water in the backflow can cause damage to the sprinkler system’s internal components. According to Home Advisor, the average sprinkler system repair job costs about $230, so it’s best to take good care of the system and follow recommended pre-winter maintenance. Sprinkler winterization is best performed by an experienced professional.
  2. External faucets: Your home likely has at least one external faucet, which you use to connect hoses, portable sprinklers and more to during the warm weather months. Turn these off first from the inside by finding the appropriate valve in the basement or crawl space, then open up the exterior faucet so that any remaining water in the pipeline drips out.
  3. Hoses: Be sure to disconnect and store any hoses connected to external faucets before winter hits to prevent them from freezing. A frozen hose is one thing, but a frozen hose still connected to the faucet can also do damage to the exterior plumbing.

Indoor Plumbing Winterization

When it comes to interior plumbing winterization, the main thing you need to worry about is your pipes – especially those pipes in basements, crawl spaces or around exterior walls that may be susceptible to freezing.

  1. Interior pipes: A frozen pipe has the potential to eventually break, which can turn areas of your home into a flooded mess. To prevent them from freezing, purchase some pipe insulating sleeves from your local hardware store and outfit the potentially problematic pipes. Insurance Journal states that 225,000 American homes suffer damage from freezing and breaking pipes each winter.
  2. Other indoor winterization: If you’re escaping the winter for somewhere warmer, it makes sense to also winterize toilets with antifreeze. Additionally, keep the home thermostat set between 50 and 55 degrees so that your home saves energy, yet stays warm enough to prevent frozen pipes.

For more information on home winterization, and to schedule an appointment for winterization services, contact HEB Plumbing & Sprinkler-Kathlyn Smith at (817) 283-8888 or visit